photo via Target Photography
The Sherwood Park Crusaders welcome the Canmore Eagles in a Sunday matinee matchup. After last night’s 4-2 win the Cru improved to 34-3-0 on the season. This is the third game in three days on the road for Canmore, they lost Saturday night 4-1 to Spruce Grove and won 4-1 Friday in Fort McMurray. The Eagles sit in fifth place in the AJHL South at 14-22-4.
Carter Gylander gets the start for Sherwood Park after Jordan Frey played last night. The pair have both been solid this season, Gylander comes into today’s game with a 1.99 GAA, a 0.927 save percentage and a record of 20-1-0. At the other end of the ice Devin Chapman starts for the Eagles, he has a GAA of 4.26, a 0.876 save percentage, and a 5-8-0 record.
The Crusaders should play another disciplined game, Canmore’s powerplay is sixth in the league at 23.94%. The Eagles themselves need to stay out of the box as well, their penalty kill is third from the bottom at 75.50%, and the Cru has one of the deadliest powerplays in the league at 27.22% only second behind the Brooks Bandits.
Despite their spot in the standings, the Eagles have a couple of strong offensive players. Alex Young could be drafted this year; he has 24 goals and 31 assists this year. Connor Lyons has 27 goals and 31 assists; both players are top 10 in AJHL scoring.
Well, Canmore didn’t start with a disciplined game, just a minute in Jared Bowman was given two minutes for roughing, he took down a Crusader in the corner and gave him an extra crosscheck while he was still down on the ice. It didn’t take long for the Crusaders to find the back of the net, Reid Irwin made them pay for a dumb penalty, with assists from Arjun Atwal and Michael Benning to make it 1-0.
The Eagles only registered a single shot on goal before giving Sherwood Park another opportunity on the man-advantage. David Saunders went to the box for tripping, and again the Cru did not wait long to make him pay for it. Will Zapernick put one past Chapman, with assists from Reid Irwin and Arjun Atwal for his second point of the night.
Canmore started to turn things around a little bit around the ten-minute mark. Gylander made a stop on Canmore’s Zach Carlson who had a brief breakaway. The Eagles managed to keep the puck in the offensive zone and put a few shots on net before the Cru could clear.
Things started to get a little chippy in the second half of the opening frame. A nasty check on Jacob Franczak from Max Giangualano had Franczak down for a moment, but he got up and looked okay. Giangualano was given two for a hit from behind and a 10-minute misconduct; Lane Paddison went to the box to serve the penalty. Once again the Crusaders wasted no time in making the Eagles pay. Arjun Atwal scored to put the Cru up 3-0, Reid Irwin and Michael Benning combined again for the goal.
We end the first period with the Cru up 3-0, the shot clock reads 21-6 for you know who.
Sherwood Park continued to put on the pressure in the second. Jacob Franczak looked to be fine after that ugly hit in the first. He made a nice pass from behind the net to Connor Hart who was open at the ringette line to put the Cru up 4-0. Jarred White also with an assist on the play.
And just a minute later, Will Zapernick made a beautiful pass to catch Carter Savoie streaking down the left-wing, to make it 5-0 for Sherwood Park, Max Wutzke with the secondary assist.
But Canmore finally put themselves on the board just 14 seconds later. Owen Reith got one by Carter Gylander to make it 5-1, with assists from Mitchell Watson and Cameron Sterling.
After some pushing and shoving in front of the Crusader’s net after the whistle, Michael Benning was given two minutes for roughing, to provide Canmore with their first powerplay of the game. A solid penalty kill from the Cru kept the game at 5-1.
A few more big hits, but not much else in the second. We head into the third with the Crusaders up 5-1, the shot clock shows 29-15 for the Cru.
Canmore starts the third with a goaltending change, Andreai Proctor-Ramirez takes over for Devin Chapman. Chapman gave up five goals on 15 shots. It looked like the Crusaders put one past him just three minutes in, but the goal was waved off as the net was off, a lucky break for Canmore.
Both teams seemed to slow down as the third went on, you can’t really blame them Sherwood Park played the night before, and Canmore has played three road games in a row, plus it must be demoralising to face such a dominant team like the Cru.
Tanner Fincaryk made it 6-1 for Sherwood Park with less than a minute to go in the game, Jacob Franczak and Jarred White with the assists.
Final score 6-1 for the Crusaders.
- A monster game from Arjun Atwal and Reid Irwin, they were great at even strength and even deadlier on the powerplay. Atwal had a three-point game with one goal and two assists, Irwin had the same one goal and two helpers.
- Carter Gylander was great as well, again the team in front of him limited the chances, but what did get through Gylander turned away.
- They slowed down in the third period, Sherwood Park probably could have really put their foot on the gas and ran up the score. Again, they could just be tired, but it’s not like Canmore wasn’t too.
Sherwood Park is back at it on January 4th when the Whitecourt Wolverines come to the Sherwood Park Arena.